Saturday, January 23, 2016

REVIEW: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Author: Dorothy Gilman
Publisher: Fawcett/Random House, 1966
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Spy

I had no clue this series existed until I was searching on YouTube for a movie to watch. Sometimes I just search for actors I like and see what pops up. This time I was trolling for Angela Lansbury. I wanted to see her in something besides Murder, She Wrote. And up popped a made for television movie from 1999. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.

I saw it was based on a book....that intrigued me. Then, after watching about 10 minutes of the movie, I turned it off. Not because I didn't like it, but because I wanted to read the book first. I made a mental note to come back and see Angela Lansbury's version after I had read the book. This is one time where my rule about reading the book before watching a movie version really was spot on.

This book.....I have been trying to come up with just the right just DELIGHTFUL. And whoever cast Angela Lansbury as Emily Pollifax was so correct! While I was reading the book, I heard the dialogue from the main character in Angela Lansbury's voice. :)

What's delightful about it? Well, I won't give any spoilers, but just set the scene:   A widow who lives in New Jersey is bored with her life. She is sick of garden club meetings and doctors appointments. Her doctor tells her she needs some excitement in her life...volunteer, travel, etc.  Emily Pollifax is no shrinking violet though and she decides she wants to work for the CIA. Yes, Emily Pollifax walks into the CIA offices and declares she wants to be an operative.

The funny part is.....she is accidentally sent on an assigment to Mexico to retrieve some top-secret microfilm.

Excitement follows. More than she banked on, of course.

But the old bird is up to the challenge. She takes on her first assignment, mistake or not, like a trooper.

The characters, the dialogue, the flow of the story......just delightful. It was a lovely romp. Totally without any of the spurting blood, weird sex and nonsense that bogs down a lot of spy stories or mysteries today. It was just a breath of fresh air and an altogether fun read.

Was it elegant, witty fiction? No....but it wasn't meant to be!

I highly recommend this book series to anyone who enjoyed Murder, She Wrote, Miss Marple, or any of that sort of "grandma kicks butt'' line of tales.

The series has 14 books. As soon as I got close to finishing this first book, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy book 2! The books are available in print and on audio. They are short reads .... about 200-250 pages each. Spend a joyful afternoon with Mrs. Pollifax, the spy.  I guarantee that you will enjoy it! '

I sure did!

My rating: 9/10
Some violence, but not graphic. 
Appropriate for ages 10 and up. 

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